Monday, March 5, 2012

A History of Now

This morning, I came across a post leading to a link that detailed a chronology of Gurdjieff's life.

 By now, the story for anyone who is familiar with Gurdjieff and his work is an old one. The stuff of legend. Yet none of this has anything to do with the reality of an inner work, today.

Every wrinkle and fold in the material that Gurdjieff created during his life was intended to move into the now—to this moment, now—and inform perception, so that the perception of the now is enhanced. The overwhelming majority of the material he published himself during his lifetime (largely consisting of Meetings with Remarkable Men and Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson) is highly allegorical in nature, and meant to speak to parts of ourselves that can't be directly interfered with by our conscious mind. In a certain sense, extracting chronologies from it completely contradicts the whole point of the material.

Deconstructing such works and analyzing them according to lists, facts, timelines, and so on, is like trying to create reality out of a myth. Heinrich Schliemann, for example, went to where Troy was buried and dug it up, and it was there—but it was still a ruined city, dead. What was happening when he dug up Troy wasn't what happened in the Iliad—what was happening was that he was digging up Troy. He probably couldn't see that, because his mind was fixated on the history of what had happened then, not what is happening now.

Mankind has an obsession with thinking that what happens now is important because of then; understanding that what happens now is important because of now escapes him.

 The place in which an inner work has to be reconstructed and remade is now. There is nothing like death to remind one that what is gone, is gone. Piling it up on sheets of paper and preserving it under glass leads nowhere relative to an understanding of who one is now, and how one's life is now. From the perspective of this consciousness, now, my ordinary consciousness, to be sure, there is a value and a weight and a meaning to the awareness of history. But all of that is actually useless relative to the mind that lives now.

A mind that lives now does not even contain a history of this kind; all it contains is a history of now. All of the other history, and the ordinary mind itself, are in a cabinet drawer off to the side, which can be referred to, opened, or closed as necessary, but is still just a cabinet drawer—a corner where small tools that might be needed are stored to be removed and used as necessary.

The only real history is an inner history, and it is the history of now. It is the only history a man will truly ever know, and it is a precious history, because this history is forever new, and belongs to a sacred property of the universe: consciousness.

No matter how poorly we understand this, how weakly we sense it, or how criminally we abuse it, this property is immutable. It is the gold of the alchemists.

I'm reminded once again of the parable of the servant who, given gold by his master, went and buried it in the field. Other servants invested it, lost it, squandered it; whatever. They were active. They didn't live through fear; they took the gold, they took what was of value, and made an effort with it. They didn't try to save it or preserve it, they didn't bury it and hide it. The man who put it out in the field froze the money, the value, in time; it became a history of itself that did nothing.

Those who took a risk created new histories of the moment; they understood that this is how one works.

I respectfully hope you will take good care.

1 comment:

  1. While I appreciate the scholarly value of such a detailed chronology of Mr. Gurdjieff's activities, and we value biographies as a manner in which we can learn something of the essence/personalities of men, I agree with you that except for the person who did the research (for whom it may have been both inner AND outer work), we can only work in our own "TIME", which is limited and not inexhaustible.

    Yet there are many who come into the "work" with practically no sense of what balanced man means -- those in the cloister of a closed Foundation or group who have no understanding of their own deficits -- they study nothing, and forgo the third striving for a "practical work" that takes them in circles, often for decades.

    Books have varying values, and can be as Mr. Gurdjieff told Ouspensky: "If you understood what you have written, then I would come and ask to study with you!"

    How many seemingly earnest people in the work know anything about Mr. Gurdjieff's use of Chemistry? The "Solfege"? Musical law? Ratio and sacred geometry? The Enneagram? The laws of Trinity and Prism?

    One can add to the general storehouse of human understanding, or happily live in knowledge half known, among others who abide in Spiritual Consolation as a pleasure. Such is part of our real work, the work of the Bees, to collect the common sense and chance to learn that others throw away.

    Mr. Gurdjieff advocated Conscious Stealing: even to the extent of sending his students to churches to "steal the prayers of others", because they do not have the power to reach their Gods.

    And his Alchemical formula of Gold, which can only gild a certain area lest it falter and leave everything half coated. We must increase our storehouse of Gold, and how can this be accomplished? Real Gold is all around us, Thrown away by the majority, who revel in Iron-Pyrite, because it is more plentiful and is more easily found by the masses with cataracts.

    There is real Gold almost everywhere, but like the Paradams of Rene Daumal, the refractory is such that we cannot see them except in special states and conditions.

    I have mixed metaphors on purpose, to make a point. Paradams and Gold are not found in Foundations or meetings; those are places where we are taught, or should be taught, how to see, but that new sight is only useful in our ordinary and real lives.

    Much remains hidden, secret and protected, but for those who have learned to see and collect, the balance of the world is changed irrevocably, for the attribute of Gold is that it remains Gold. It does not "rust".

    It can only depend on work in the "now", but only Gold lasts: EVERYTHING ELSE is combustable, paper, books, bodies, etc...

    Perhaps this is why we live on a water planet, to compensate for the fact that "everything is combustable". But Gold is Gold, and doth not rust even when cast into the Sea.

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